In this remarkable, inspiring collection of essays, Olivia Laing makes a brilliant case for why art matters, especially in the turbulent political weather of the 21st century.
Funny Weather brings together a career’s worth of Laing’s writing about art and culture, examining its role in our political and emotional lives. She profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keefe, interviews Hilary Mantel and Ali Smith, writes love letters to David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and explores loneliness and technology, women and alcohol, sex and the body. With characteristic originality and compassion, she celebrates art as a force of resistance and repair, an antidote to a frightening time.
We’re often told art can’t change anything. Laing argues that it can. It changes how we see the world. It makes plain inequalities and it offers fertile new ways of living.
‘Never has a publication been more timely’ Dazed
From the reviews
‘Frankly, it's essential to read anything Laing writes.’ The Bookseller
‘Laing has acted as a kind of cultural sage for the past four years, an accidental literary grande dame of the emotional havoc wrought by late capitalism and digital disconnect.’ New York Magazine
‘A thought-provoking, inspiring collection that you can go back to whenever the weather takes a funny turn.’ Evening Standard
‘Funny Weather gives the reader a tangible sense of the sprawling garden of work which Laing has planted. She is to the art world what David Attenborough is to nature: a worthy guide with both a macro and micro vision, fluent in her chosen tongue and always full of empathy and awe.’ Irish Times
‘An incivisive meditation on the value of heartfelt, messy art in our paranoid times.' Telegraph
‘The hospitality of world view in Olivia’s writing is a vital force in our disputatious present.’ Maria Balshaw, director of Tate
‘I yield to absolutely no one in my admiration of Olivia Laing; her essays are magical liberations of words and ideas, art and love; they're the essence of great 21st century literature: brilliantly expressed, wildly uncontained, wilful and wonderfully unbound.’ Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR
‘Like all great critics, Olivia Laing combines formidable intelligence with boundless curiosity and fabulous taste, but she also has a rare quality of intimacy; an ability to connect the reader to a work of art or literature (or for that matter a facet of life itself) with a directness that lights it up like nothing else. It’s why I read her.’ James Lasdun, author of Afternoon of a Faun
‘A warm, thinking, enticing sweep of a book, like spending the afternoon with your brainiest friend.’ Kate Mosse, author of The Burning Chamber